Monday, September 14, 2009

I'm Tired Just Thinking About it. But That May Be Due to My Crushing Insomnia.

So, now that we're (almost) a week in, how does Julia like kindergarten, you'd like to know? She likes it fine. Quite a bit, in fact.

She likes her teacher and her Disney Princesses backpack and riding the bus. She likes the new school playground (even if she's only been out on it once; sob sob--gone are the days of nursery school, when you go outside to play every day, damn you public school system!). She likes morning greeting and Line Basics and the visit from the god-like principal to teach the kindergartners about the School Rules and the Secret Kindergartner Wave for When They Potentially See the Principal Around Town Like At the Grocery Store or Target. (Julia told me this in a whisper, and when she oh-so-seriously demonstrated the Secret Wave, a three-fingered waggle at chest-height, it took all my motherly willpower not to bust out laughing, it was so incredibly hilarious and cute. She is Very Serious about the Secret Wave.)

But, like all new adventures, beginning kindergarten has its own challenges: the wily snack-break milk carton, so unwilling to be opened successfully by tiny fingers, so spillable, so heartbreaking. The lack of toys and time for free play. (To be fair, she does not actually complain about this, but it comes out later when she cries over not having enough time to play at home between nap and dinner, or between dinner and bed. Girl is used to hours and hours of playtime, and she's down to a fraction of her former schedule.) More than anything, the utter exhaustion. Julia is now in school for 15 hours per week, with extra time tacked on for riding the school bus--which, when you're five and have never done it before, requires mental stamina and concentration and just a great deal of good citizenry, all of which is tiring--and this is fully twice the amount of time she has ever spent at school in the past, even when she was in the Fours class at preschool (three mornings a week). Poor honey is tired.

She comes home from kindergarten and collapses in a heap on the sofa while I make lunch and Genevieve energetically does their "Baby Dance" DVD. She falls asleep during "Quiet Time" and sometimes does not wake up when I rouse her. We're forced to eat dinner at five, and we cannot get the girls to bed early enough: 7 p.m., 6:45--it's all too late. She's tired. She'd fall asleep at six if we tried it, only we can't, because you just can't do dinner and bath and the requisite small bit of playtime and stories, all by 6 p.m.

There is a lot I don't know yet about kindergarten; it seems crazy how much I clearly don't know, how much goes on in her morning world that she does not yet tell me about but that I catch snatches of when she mentions them in passing: the way they have to sign their names every morning, the way their teacher says, "1, 2, 3, eyes on me!" and "Freeze, please!" to keep them in line, the way she has to rush to keep up and one time didn't get to dry her hands after washing them in the bathroom because the rest of the class was lined up and leaving the room to go outside.

There's a lot I don't know yet. But I do know this: kindergarten is TIRING, people. Do you remember?


Nonna said...

The "secret wave" is cute, all right, but I have to ask: Just what is wrong with saying, "Hello, Mr. Jones," (or whatever his name is) right out loud??? Is he afraid he might be accosted by an over-exuberant kindergartner or what??

Shan said...

Nonna: I have NO IDEA. Do you get the feeling something is getting lost in translation here? I do.

Mom and Kiddo said...

When my son comes home from PreK, which lasts until 2:30, he is still a total spaz until bedtime at 8. What is wrong with him? He should be tired. And they go outside everyday.

Shan said...

Nonna: On further reflection, I think the secret wave is merely a ploy to make the kindergartners feel particularly special and loved.

Mom and Kiddo: Julia never slept as a baby. Ever since she turned 4, though, she's needed lots of sleep. And she's always been the lower-energy/less physical type of child. You don't usually see her buzzing around bouncing off things, for example. Also, new experiences in general are very taxing for her. She's a reserved and timid type so starting something new and big tires her brain out. Still, you'd think your 4 year old would need a small bit of rest after a big day like that! Poor you! ;)

Tiffany said...

Kindergarten is full day here. She'd die!

I also wanted to know all the details of my oldest son days when in Kindergarten. It is hard because it is the first real snip in the apron strings when you are an at home mom--your job is to slowly transition her to a life of her own and help her become independent. And independence is tiring . . .

Donna said...

Julia will build her stamina with time. I'm sure she's not the only child who is exhausted. My own children, who are pretty well versed in school were tired at the beginning of the school year - just from the change in routine and mental & physical exhaustion. Julia will find her groove.

As will you.